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Ideal birthday gift for President Thomas S. Monson

Last year, on the occasion of his 81st birthday, President Thomas S. Monson was asked to describe the ideal birthday gift. Without hesitating, he said, "Do something for someone else on that day to make his or her life better. Find someone who is having a hard time or is ill or lonely, and do something for them. That's all I would ask."This year, as the Church News planned a report about President Monson's birthday, we invited readers to tell us about their "birthday gifts for President Monson." Following are highlights of service members have performed in his honor. We're almost certain that more reports will be sent about service performed on the date of his 82nd birthday, which is Aug. 21.A member who identified himself (or herself) as "a member of the Troy Alabama Branch" wrote: "There are so many I would love to share but one of my favorite gifts of service is our branch president's wife who goes to the library every two weeks and checks out books on CD for an elderly homebound sister."A mother of three wrote that she works full time and receives service from others, and would like to do something for them in return but is limited financially and physically. "Knowing that President Monson's birthday is coming… I prayed to Heavenly Father to have the opportunity for the gift of service," she wrote. A few days later, her mother bought some clothes for her youngest child, but they didn't fit. "I thought of (a couple)... who have several children and gave that mother a call. She came right away and was so happy, as she and her husband have been suffering money wise also and had not been able to get clothes for the children to go back to school."Youth from the tri-state area of Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia participated in a three-day youth conference held at Potomac State College located in Keyser July 16 to 19. Part of the conference could be described as one big birthday gift to President Monson. On one day they participated in a service scavenger hunt. "Many kind and considerate homeowners allowed these youth great opportunities to serve and develop a skill or two," wrote Jane Dumont, public affairs director of the Martinsburg West Virginia Stake. "Some of the services rendered were washing cars, washing windows, walking dogs, painting porches, moving air conditioners and taking down curtains."See the full story on

This story is provided by the LDS Church News, an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is produced weekly by the Deseret News.